Towards the end of my junior year at James Madison University, my head and heart felt full. I had been studying Geographic Science with a focus on environmental conservation and sustainable development for three semesters at this point, and my awareness of the myriad of global environmental issues at hand was ever-growing.
My college years brought on a rapid evolution of personal and spiritual growth. I feel very blessed that my studies and social circles provided inspiration to both turn inward and look outward with discernment. My relationship to the global ecosystem blossomed into an unwavering recognition of my place within it, and pointed to the importance of solid community and meaningful relationships that included more than just interpersonal connections, but also the interconnectedness of all things on the earth and the cosmos.
It became glaringly evident, and sometimes painfully so, that the time is now to enact change. I found myself called to relate to the land through sustainable agriculture and gardening. These practices were bringing me to a place of peace as I harmonized with the natural rhythms, feeding the soil in order to feed myself and my community. I was itching to put my passions into action in real-time, beyond classroom walls and glowing laptop screens. At twenty-one, I’d yet to travel outside the country. As the calling from my heart to take a leap became persistent and ever clear, I knew it was time to venture into the unknown.
And so, I began the process of finding the place to spend a semester abroad. I knew that I wanted to go somewhere in Latin America where permaculture was being practiced, so I put the intention out there and welcomed conversations with friends and other travelers who could point me to the right place. One day my sister, who I was lucky to share most of my college experience with, told me that she’d met someone who’d recently graduated from JMU and was now living in a permaculture ecovillage in Costa Rica.
A few short months later, I was on my first ever flight to San Jose.
...To be continued...
Sarah Nordseth is a JMU alum who currently resides in Virginia, dedicating her time and energy to sustainable agriculture and permaculture practices. She seeks to discover how we can best relate to soil and plants with their abundant gifts and capacity to support sustainable communities. You can follow Sarah's adventures on Facebook and Instagram.